How do I begin?
Knowing what you want your website to look like is half the battle. But there are so many options on the web nowadays that sometimes it can be next to impossible to convey. While you do like one thing on someone’s site, there are five other things that you do not like. My job is to look at what you are seeing through your eyes. This small assignment can get me closer to better understanding what thrills you and will help me create the website that you will love for years to come.
These are some of the most important aspects of a website before design/layout takes place. Feel free to ask for more information on any of these basics.
Domain names are everything. If you need a sounding board for your domain name ideas I am all ears and eyes. I will point out some flaws that possibly could come up before you put money down on purchasing what you think is the most perfect name. For example, www.therapist.com seems harmless but could have a lot of issues and underlying subconscious undertones. Once you see “it” it becomes hard to ever unsee it.
When purchasing your domain name the hosting companies will try to sell you all sorts of extra gadgets, bells and whistles. You don’t need any of them (exception, possibly “privacy” listing, see #3 below).
I am connected to numerous hosting companies through my clients and they are not all created equal. Many of them operate outside of the US and are building their business’ to eventually sell them. This has happened to me numerous times in which I lost my website for weeks/months because the new business is not up to speed. Also, look for companies that offer 24/7 service but be aware you may have to constantly hang on the phone for an hour before someone addresses your call because of their small staff.
With all of this said, I would recommend GoDaddy, whom I have worked with and have trusted for years.
Your images should be of the highest quality. Many of my clients try shooting their own images and some turn out good considering the web can be forgiving. But my advice is to get the highest quality reproduction of your product which will get the ____ (fill in the blank, sale, selection, attention, etc.) faster than a shot that was taken in the back yard.
If you need in the San Francisco Bay Area and are in need of a good photographer I would suggest Dana Davis, 510.658.7617.
Web images and print images are two different animals. Web images are usually 72 dpi while print images are around 300 dpi. You can send web images through email but you don’t want to send print images through email and clog up someone’s computer. You can always practice sending materials through email first with me before you send them on to your clients. I will let you know what is being seen on the other end and help you make any corrections.
The design/layout is created in photoshop and either sent to you as a jpg or put up on your site behind the scenes to look at.
If you are selecting an online template (for example a WordPress site or Responsive Template) the design and customization takes place directly on the web. Advantages of this process are sometimes cheaper depending on how much customization you may want.
Once the design/layout is created (roughly takes me 5-10 hours) there will be a period of communication between you and I with any of your change requests.
I usually create 3 pages: the home page, a text page, and a main page to look at.
It is at this time that we should aim to make all of the layout changes. It is much cheaper to make the changes in a Photoshop file than it is once I start building the actual site. Building the site can take up to a month.
The site will be built behind your current site or on a new domain site that will include a holding home page (generally says, “coming soon” or any other text you prefer), and can include an email link.
One month, or sooner, from start to finish.
This is an average that also includes client response time. But some sites may run longer depending on how much materials one may have and how much customization one is looking for. My experience is that when my client sees their site coming together that many other ideas begin to come to the surface that they would like implemented.
I test all the sites I create on current major browsers (Safari, Firefox, MS Explore, Crome, Opera), major computers (PC, Mac), touch devices such as iPhone and iPad.
There are sometimes slight discrepancies on the older computers as there are with all sites.
My philosophy regarding this issue is that I always design for the future so that your site continues to look great as the years move on.
I test for download speeds. Just a note, the higher quality of images and amount of coding on a site will cause a site to load slower. Think quality=speed. Some of my clients give up the idea of having a super fast loading site because they want their images to look the best. Also, I have noticed a very slight lag with WordPress sites because of the massive amount of database information. But chances are, your average viewer looking at your site probably will never notice it.
I will submit your site to Google if it is not listed. All other search engines draw from Google.
I will ask for keywords and description.
I will suggest using Google Analytics which is free. I can help you set these up on your computer.
I will help you set up your new email (domain name) address on your computer.
I am always available for hire for web maintenance and updating and charge my clients for my time on the quarter hour ($31.25 for 15 minutes or less).